Welcome to Lanai
Welcome to the enchanting world of Lanai, Hawaii’s hidden gem in the vast Pacific Ocean. Nestled southwest of Maui and south of Molokai, this tranquil island invites you to explore its untouched beauty and immerse yourself in authentic Hawaiian culture. Known as the “Pineapple Island”, visitors are captivated by Lanai’s diverse landscapes, from lush rainforests and dramatic cliffs to pristine beaches and crystalline waters. As the smallest inhabited island in Hawaii, Lanai offers a serene escape from the crowds, where relaxation, adventure, and discovery harmoniously blend. Embark on a journey of a lifetime as we unveil the best of Lanai’s treasures in this comprehensive guide.
1. Snorkel at Hulopoe Beach
You can’t visit Lanai without spending some time on Hulopoe Beach. You can swim in serene waters, sunbathe on the warm golden sands, or go snorkeling to explore the vibrant underwater world of gorgeous Hulopoe Beach.
This beach has something for everyone every season, so get ready to swim in some of the calmest waters around Lanai during the summer months. Or enjoy a stunning show of dolphins and humpback whales offshore in winter. Take your reef shoes to explore the crackled lava tidal pools at low tide, easily accessed by the stairs at the end of the beach.
2. Marvel at Garden of The Gods
Garden of the Gods, or Keahiakwelo, is a massive rock garden and barren landscape. The garden is located on the island’s northwestern side, making visitors feel like they are on Mars. The red-dusted landscape features a sprawling rock garden filled with rock towers and giant boulders formed by thousands of years of erosion.
The Garden of the Gods is even part of two Hawaiian legends. One legend suggests that gods dropped the rocks from the sky. The other says that a fire-burning contest between the priests of Lanai and Molokai created the stunning lunar landscape. You can explore the landscape of Garden of the Gods on your own by foot or rent a Jeep for more adventure.
4. Hike The Koloiki Ridge Trail
The Koloiki Ridge Trail delivers terrific long-range views. Beginning at the Four Seasons Hotel, not far from Sweetheart Rock, the 5-mile loop trail meanders along a well-marked, moderate hiking trail up into the lush mountains of Lanai.
Begin your hike among the pine forests before gaining elevation atop the ridge, where you will marvel at the 360-degree views of this beautiful island. Once you reach the higher elevation, you will notice the welcome drop in temperature and a welcomed coastal breeze. The trail was also the site of an infamous battle during the 1700s.
5. Take A Peaceful Stroll in Lanai City
Welcome to Lanai City, where you can enjoy the small town feel and explore for an afternoon. While in Lanai City, shop at some of the charming mom-and-pop shops in Dole Park. Enjoy the quiet island life as you take a peaceful stroll on calm streets; with no traffic lights under the shade of towering pines, you can experience authentic Hawaiian vibes.
Visit the Lanai Culture and Heritage Center to discover the city’s geological and cultural identity. Choose a unique gift for your family and friends at the Lanai Hula Hut or Cory Labang Studio. Make sure to stop for a bite of local cuisine.
6. Visit the Lanai Cat Sanctuary
If you are an animal lover, Lanai Cat Sanctuary will be a must-visit during your time on the island. This non-profit sanctuary is a cat lover’s paradise for over 600 spayed/neutered felines, also known as the Lanai Lions, of all shapes and sizes.
The sanctuary rescues, houses, feeds, and spays cats. The main goal is to prevent feline overpopulation, which helps to protect Lanai’s endangered ground-nesting birds, such as the Hawaiian Petrel. These birds make a considerable contribution to Lanai’s ecosystem. The Lanai Cat Sanctuary is open from 10 am to 3 pm daily
7. Explore the Poaiwa Petroglyphs
The Poaiwa Petroglyphs are beautiful carvings made by Ancient Hawaiians. The hike to the petroglyphs will lead you into Poaiwa Valley, where you will discover the petroglyphs carved on huge lava rock boulders. The lava rocks were considered the ideal surfaces for recording historical events, and it’s easy to see why. The petroglyphs portray many symbols, from pets to fighting warriors, all etched over generations.
8. Take In Views From the Sweetheart Rock Overlook
By Hulopoe Beach, you will find one of Lanai’s most picturesque natural landmarks. The Puupehe Trail offers a scenic hike along the coastline ending with a glimpse of the iconic Sweetheart Rock. This 20-minute hike allows you to take in the majestic beauty of the ocean as you wander the coastal trail.
Take an early morning stroll to admire a breathtaking Lanai sunrise and enjoy one of the most scenic hikes on the island. You will find Sweetheart Rock nestled between Hulopoe Bay and Manele Bay. This impressive rock formation juts 80 feet from the sea and is featured in tragic Hawaiian legend.
This Lanai legend suggests that the warrior named Maka fell in love with Pehe and, when he became jealous, hid her in a sea cave. A violent storm hit the island, and Pehe drowned in the cave, and grief-stricken Maka climbed to the top of the rock, buried her there, and then jumped to his death.
9. Visit The Mike Carroll Gallery
Mike Carroll departed Chicago for the stunning golden shores of Lanai in 2001. Here, his passion for art and nature blossomed into impressive oil painting skills. Stop by the Mike Carroll Gallery and admire his works that celebrate Hawaiian culture and the enthralling beauty of the island. As this is a working studio, you can often spot Mike creating his latest works when he isn’t wandering the island for inspiration. The art gallery also features a wide range of local art.